Thursday, August 14, 2008

Red Bat Discovered at Tinker Nature Park

Before last week, the Little Brown Bat and Big Brown Bat were the only bat species known to inhabit the park. That all changed this week when two hikers found a bat tangled in some burdock along the perimeter trail. They brought the tangled bat into the nature center. There it was freed from the prickers and released. The bat flew to some tall plants to rest, where I was able to snap its picture.

Red bat

Red bats are a type of tree bat. They do not roost in groups, but instead singly on trees. During the day they curl their wings and tail membrane around their body and hang from trees, closely resembling dead leaves or pine cones. These solitary bats will form groups to mate and migrate. Red bats often give birth to twins, but may have up to five young per litter. They are one of the first bats to come out in the evening, and can be seen around forest edges and clearings where they consume a large quantity of moths.

Little brown bats are abundant throughout forests in the United States with a range that reaches up to Alaska. The little brown bat roosts in colonies in dead trees, crevices, attics, and buildings. These bats hunt over water, where they consume aquatic insects, mosquitoes, midges, mayflies and caddisflies. You can also find them hunting in forests, over cliffs, meadows, and farmlands where they feed on a wide range of insects.

'Little brown bat' photo from Pennsylvania Fish and Game

The big brown bat is found in a wide range of habitats including desert, meadows, forest, and suburban areas from Canada to Mexico, East to West coast. Big brown bats are generalists and will eat a wide variety of insects including agricultural pests. They roost in colonies in trees, under bark, bat houses, bridges, and buildings.

'Big brown bat' photo from wikipedia

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